Last week I was at the dentist’s office getting my teeth cleaned when I struck up a conversation with my favorite hygienist Marcia. We share many commonalities in that we both went back to school in our 30’s and we both have children of the same age. Believe it or not talking with her is one of the things I like best about going to the dentist. She got me thinking when she said that she also works at another dentist’s office in town and that the office manager had complained that Marcia had spent too much time chatting with the patients and she needed to keep the talk to a minimum.
Certainly, if I found her conversation engaging there are also others who do as well. What the office manager failed to notice was that people can get their teeth cleaned anywhere, so why go there? For example I drive across town to my dentist that I have been visiting since I was a teenager. The reason I continue to drive out of my way is because of the relationships built with the dentist and his staff. When I come in the office, everyone knows me and cares about how I am doing.
The feeling of connection goes past the dentist chair and into other areas of life as well. I believe that in general, people want to be noticed and treated as unique individuals. After leaving (with my teeth sparkling) I started to think about the importance of building personal relationships in business. How important is it to cultivate them in order to be truly successful? Some may say that it depends on the business, but I think not.
One reason I was successful for many years as a bridal shop owner was because I built and nurtured relationships that started when a bride came shopping for a gown for her first time and grew until she got married. The relationships may have concluded there except for the fact that each of these brides had bridesmaids who themselves may be getting married. A trusting bond had already been built with one of her best friends or relatives which in turn continued the cycle for another generation. So whether it is getting your teeth cleaned, buying a wedding gown, or getting a cup of coffee from the local barista, taking some time to chat is beneficial in the long run.